The Great Beanie Baby Bubble by Zac Bissonnette

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Genres: Non-fiction, Economics
Publisher: Portfolio
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015

4 OUT OF 5 STARS

“You can make a lot of money with a good cat.” -Ty Warner”

Beanie Babies took the world by storm briefly in the late 90s. Everyone over a certain age remembers stories about people making enough money to buy cars and houses by selling rare stuffed toys. Bissonnette chronicles the rise and fall of the craze, examines the life of the man behind it and interviews the consumers who were swooped up in it.

The book is both fascinating and sad. The Beanie Baby craze is still a bit of a mystery today but there’s no question that Ty produced quality and affordable toys – and still does. The story of the founder’s life in unfortunately rather tragic. Bissonnette covers two of his relationships – both which ended poorly. His neglected childhood, bad relations with everyone around him and his insane passion for his product. Ty Warner is successful, even after the bubble popped, but if this book is to be believed he is far from happy.

The books flow is…a little strange. It tries to maintain chronological sense but jumps around a little too much. The beginning is slow and the book could do with a little more focus on the Beanie Baby side of things as opposed to Ty Warner’s personal life. It is fascinating but it seems to take up a bit too much of the novel. The photos were also all in the back of the book rather than placed where relevant and there were too few for such a visual toy. There is also a lot of overlap and repetition.

Despite this, it is an easy read for economic beginners and extremely informative. Bissonnette explains every term and idea he brings up very well. Someone with no prior knowledge of plush or economics will have no trouble understanding and following the story.

The book could have done with some bits being cut and a more sensible organization – but all and all it’s an excellent coverage of the few strange years where Beanie Babies were a phenomenon.

For Fans Of:  Mouse Tales

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